In the days immediately following Hurricane Harvey, the whole world watched as volunteers went from building to building in small private boats to rescue citizens and pets from the dangerous floodwaters. After nearly 40 inches of rain poured down upon one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, everyone came together to help one another escape shoulder-high water.
Several days later when the floodwater receded and Houston residents and business owners returned, we began to see the full scope of damage caused by the storm. Mildewed desks were dragged to the curb. Moldy office drywall was replaced. Photos and important documents were permanently destroyed. In other words, anything touched by the floodwaters was gone for good.
In some cases, entire small businesses were forced to close their doors for good and were put out of business.
The truth is that disasters can strike at any time. Whether it’s a physical disaster such as a hurricane, fire, or tornado or it’s an electronic disaster such as a loss of data or system shutdown, all disasters can bring businesses to a halt. As a business owner, if you haven’t taken adequate steps to prepare in advance of a disaster such as backing up your digital files and making a digital copy of your paper records, recovering from the aftermath can be an almost impossible challenge.
Disasters are inevitably disruptive, but with the right preparedness measures, they don’t have to be catastrophic. Just as building a safety plan or plotting an evacuation route can help you and your family react quickly in the event of an emergency, thinking about what could happen to your business and your records before a disaster strikes can help reduce the impact later on.
Here are several things that you can do to reduce the impact of a disaster:
Of course, even with a business continuity plan that lets you work through a disaster, even with local and cloud-based backups of your records, and even with a plan to make sure your strategic partners can ensure you stay in the IRS’s good graces, disasters can still be extremely expensive.
Replacing damaged facilities and equipment can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the lost revenue that your business may miss out on if you rely on a physical location to transact with customers.
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